Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Inventor of The Pill
He was the mastermind behind the sexual revolution.
He liberated women from the nursery, which triggered social revolution, too.
He was one of the men who created the twenty-first century the way we know it, hugely different from the world our grandmothers knew.
He was Carl Djerassi, the inventor of the contraceptive pill.
Last month, he passed away, but his legacy lives on, and on, and on.
Carl Djerassi, an Austrian born research chemist, was the man who patented the synthetic hormone used in The Pill. Then, having done that, he crossed disciplines to sociology, to study how the birth-control pill influenced women's health, gender equality, and global population growth.
"By separating the coital act from contraception, the pill started one of the most monumental movements in recent times, the gradual divorce of sex from reproduction," he wrote in the last of his three autobiographies, This Man's Pill: Reflections on the 50th Birthday of the Pill."
Apropos of that, I read something interesting about The Pill recently. The few that are differently colored are there to trigger a monthly bleed that is not actually menstruation. It is more of a reassurance to pill-taking women that their womb is still there. Apparently it causes no harm to discard the sheep among the goats (as it were) and just keep on with the hormones. There may be some spotting to start with (or so said the physician in the column), but it soon settles down.
Life without periods? Our grandmothers would have been most amazed!